Many of us are often unaware of the basic shame that exists within us, because it comes so naturally to think self-critical thoughts about ourselves. Yet, shame from our past can heavily influence the degree to which we feel jealous and insecure in the present. In a serious relationship, real hurt from rejection or betrayal can trigger old feelings that there is something basically wrong with us.
In the same way, this inner critic turns on us, it also turns on those closest to us. When we notice ourselves fostering unwarranted suspicions or accusing our partners of being "distracted, rejecting, insensitive or cruel." It is important to consider how much of this is our real point of view and how much is a product of the coaching of our critical inner voice. Are these criticisms based on real events or actions? Are our unfavorable reactions disproportionate to the situation?
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While real rejections do hurt, long-term harm is primarily caused by how our critical inner voice continues to criticize and influence us long after the incident is over. When we listen to destructive self-coaching that fuels our insecurity and distrust, we risk acting on our emotions to a degree that hurts both us and those close to us. Over time, we become less like the person we really are and more like the person our critical inner voice is defining us as.
For example, when we end up searching our partner’s cell phone for suspicious texts or restricting our partner from having friends of the opposite sex, we may be acting on old self-doubt and mistrust that has nothing to do with current circumstances. Even if we do then find a text message from an ex in our partner’s phone or hear that our partner hung out with an attractive co-worker at a company event, we may overreact in a way that neither we nor our partners are likely to respect.
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Accepting these negative attacks and not challenging them can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy by creating actual distance between ourselves and our partners, pushing them further away from us, perhaps ultimately into another person’s arms. Even when our "worst fears" are realized, no act of dishonesty or even infidelity should be used as evidence for the attacks our critical inner voice has been leveling against us. Keep Reading...